How to be a better candidate – Find a great fundraiser 

Matt Bell

Senior Editor & Partner

And make sure they use DonorDesk! Well, they don’t have to, but like a good consultant, a good fundraiser will justify their salary. They usually have long standing relationships with donors in the community and can help you frame productive conversations you’ll need to have with people who will fund your campaign.


The best way to torpedo your campaign early is to dismiss the value of a professional fundraiser. If you’re running for a local race, or for the presidency, the law requires that nearly every dollar received and every dollar spent by a campaign needs to be reported. By law, anyone can view these reports, which show how much has been raised, spent, and left. These will be scrutinized and conclusions will be drawn. Make sure yours are strong. 

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Importance of maintaining database in off years

Why should you constantly maintain a database?

  Campaign season is (to put it lightly) a busy time for everyone. The work is endless, the hours long, and the resources never quite enough. All done in the pursuit of election day, where with breath held in anticipation, everyone waits for the results to come in. It’s the climax of months or years of work.    And then it’s over.    Win or lose, almost everyone breathes a sign of relief and takes a break. Ties come off and everything is a bit more relaxed. And while campaigning never seems to entirely cease, some tasks begin to take on less importance. Tasks that once consumed hours of precious time don’t necessarily require the same focus. It’s understandable, you don’t need to knock on doors the day after an election. But what about the data? What is done with the thousands of names, phone numbers, email address, and contribution records once an election is concluded?   Well, they’re stored in the database, right?   Hopefully.  

"Data is the new oil"

Let me explain. There are static assets and dynamic assets that a campaign requires to run effectively and efficiently. Static assets could include yard signs or other necessities that don’t change. Dynamic assets are things like a voter’s profiles, which contains data that is likely to change over time.    You don’t really need to stock up on yard signs right after the election. Maintaining a comprehensive database of voter data is something that you should consistently adding to, improving, and refining. Think about a contact you have in your phone. If they changed their phone number, you’d want to make sure that it’s correctly updated in your phone.    A good database is, on a larger scale, just like maintaining a numbers in your phone. If an address changes, update it. If you want to know how much someone gave last election, make sure it’s stored in the database.    Paraphrasing a popular quote, data is the new oil, because the world now relies on data to power its business. And where you refine and store that data is just as important. So choose a platform that was built specifically to store data that you need. We’ve created a pretty good one in DonorDesk!



The different types of donors you’ll encounter – Industry
Otherwise known as lobbyists. They represent the interests of companies, associations, non-profits, and a host of other entities, and are tasked with supporting candidates and politicians who will support them. Finance, oil, tobacco, these are all examples of industries that donate to political campaigns.   These are professional policy watchers. They are astute, so don’t try and play semantics with them. They usually don’t play in smaller races, but expect to see them in state and federal races. Their contributions typically are larger than regional and ideological donors, and possibly more importantly, their endorsement can lead to the support of local unions, businesses, or community organizations.



The different types of donors you’ll encounter – Regional
What are regional donors?   These are your constituents (i.e. the people you want to represent). They are your neighbors, friends, the people at your grocery store, anyone who lives within the confines of your district. These are the people who you are most accountable to. They determine whether you get elected or not, so it's very important to not only understand them, but to also have their support.    Regional donors vary in their ability to contribute. Wealthy district? There are probably wealthy donors in the district. Less wealthy? Donors won't be able to write checks that are as generous.   Regardless of their net worth, it’s important to show strong fundraising from this group. Strong regional financial support shows that you have strong support with the people in your district.    You’ll meet regional donors anywhere you go in the district, going door to door, at local events, and most other places you’ll campaign. Ask for their support. They’ll comprise what is known as the First 300. We’ll go into more detail about this in another post.

Take charge of your next campaign.

DonorDesk is trusted by some of the top consultants in the industry. We’ve spent years creating the best way for campaigns to manage their contacts, events and data. Let us help you get started today!


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